Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell led The Bahamas’ contingent to the 48th Caribbean Free Trade Association’s (CARIFTA) Games, Thursday, full of optimism that the team will perform at its optimum level. Minister Campbell is pinch-hitting for Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon. Lanisha Rolle who was scheduled to address the Caribbean High School Championships, Thursday, at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
The contingent departed the Lynden Pindling International Airport Thursday morning for Grand Cayman. The Games are scheduled to get underway Saturday, April 20, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and will conclude on Monday, April 22. The inaugural Games were held in Barbados in 1972 to mark the transition from the Caribbean Free Trade Association to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The Cayman Islands will play host to the Games for the third time (1995, 2010, 2019). By comparison, The Bahamas has hosted the Games a leading eight times including in 2018 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Track and Field Stadium, when the country finished second to Jamaica with a total of 35 medals including 6 Gold, 14 Silver and 15 Bronze medals.
The Bahamas has emerged as the overall champions of the CARIFTA Games on four occasions, including back-to-back titles in 1980 and 1981 and again in 1983 and 1984. “The Bahamas has a good reputation at CARIFTA,” Minister Campbell said. “I am advised that our athletes are prepared and that we can expect the same kind of wonderful performances that we have had in the past – wonderful performances that have led to Olympians coming out of CARIFTA. “This team is going to get the Bahamian support. I am going to be there to celebrate with them and we look forward to bringing home as many pieces of gold, silver, and bronze that are available out there.”
Minister Campbell said he was “excited and quite pleased” to lead the CARIFTA contingent as there is “connectivity” between the two Ministries. “I usually jokingly talk about the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development taking care of our citizens from the Womb to the Tomb,” Minister Campbell said. “The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is another component in that journey. It participates in the growth and development of the young person. It becomes involved in the early stages from the primary school level through the sporting and cultural events they host as it begins to nurture the young person and prepare them for this journey called life. “The Ministry prepares our young people to excel into his or her full potential, and so there is this connectivity as the Ministry of Social Services also plays a major role in the social development of our children and young people in addition to all of the other functions of the Ministry and its Departments and Divisions. And so I find it no coincidence that from time-to-time the Minister of Social Services acts as the Minister of Youth because there is this innate connectivity.
“You see how it relates when we protect our young and then we nurture them and then we expose them to what is necessary for them to find their niche; to find and develop their God-given talent, and then we continue to be with them as they excel, to protect them as they come into themselves. Once we continue to do that, they will in turn make us proud,” Minister Campbell added.